LAWYERS PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY COVERAGE UPDATE
With most states under a stay-at-home order, lawyers and law firms are faced with a new challenge in terms of notarizing documents. While several states have passed laws permitting remote notarization before the COVID-19 pandemic, most lawyer’s professional liability insurance policies specifically exclude notarization done without a firsthand witness.
Where can you look in the policy to find out if coverage is in place?
Every policy is different, but typically this wording can be found under “exclusions” and it will read something similar to:
This Policy shall not apply to any Damages or Claims Expenses incurred with respect to any Claim: based upon or arising out of any actual or alleged certification or acknowledgment by an Insured in the capacity as a notary public of a signature on a document which the Insured did not personally witness being placed on the document.
What can you do to ensure the law firm is covered for this situation, during this time?
Each carrier is drafting endorsements and modifying language to include remote notary coverage.
Language is replacing the above exclusion and says something similar to:
Based on or arising out of, or in any way involving, any actual or alleged certification or acknowledgment by any Insured in the capacity as a notary public of a signature on a document said Insured did not personally witness being placed on the document; however, this exclusion shall not apply to any notarization services performed during a governmental directive that prevents said Insured from witnessing a signature (such as during a quarantine), provided that said Insured adheres to any applicable remote notarization requirements.
It is important to note the policy language and modified coverages are different in each state. The team at Founders Professional is working continuously to keep on top of the changes and provide a timely response to insureds in this time of uncertainty.
Please reach out to Founders Professional with any questions, and to find out how we can ensure your clients are covered for their remote notary services.